Comments on Darwinism's Falsification


(Greg) #82

I just read this as it is a description of the newest form of the theory of evolution:

So all i get from it is that evolution is not best described in terms of selection for adaptation, but rather an accumulation of mutations passed that over time that increase complexity. I only read the brief description of the paper and not the paper itself. From the description though, it seems,even more illogical than the neo darwinian view. But i may be completely misunderstanding too. I asked if someone else can take the pieces of this theory and speak them in simple laymans terms so guys like me can understand the newest form on evolutionism. I have not heard back but wonder if you help me with that?

The one glaring problem i saw in the intro to the theory is that it presupposes universal common decent first then sets out to show how it works second. If any form of creation is true, this method of discovering will miss it every time. It will only conclude on the grounds established.

Let me know if you understand what this is getting to or not. Thanks

(Mikkel R.) #83

That is not necessary. That could be one way to get incomplete lineage sorting patterns, but not the only way. All that needs to happen is that some particular allele has not reached 100%, and hasn’t mixed spatially uniformly in the population.

Which makes sense because suppose some large population of animals covers some portion of the african continent, and then some new allele arises in a member in the western part of the continent. It’s going to take a long time, many generations, for this allele to spread into all members of the population if it is not highly advantageous. Chances are it’s going to take a while before that allele can be detected in the part of the population found on the eastern part of the continent. A lot of migration and sex has to take place for that to happen.
That means at any given time, if speciation by geographic isolation happens, either of the two subpopulations are unlikely to have a sample of all alleles in the population. There will be alleles in one of the subpopulations not found in the other subpopulation.

So it’s not that any gene was actually necessarily “lost” (in the sense that it was mutationally deleted), rather it could also be that some alleles never had time to spread into enough members of the population to ensure with high probability that it would be found in all subpopulations if they are isolated.

You really should take the time to read and understand this article:

(Dr. Patrick Trischitta) #84

Please explain gravitational waves with Newtonian mechanics.

(Greg) #85

Like living organisms, car engines were designed and built by high intelligence…but higher intelligence built living organisms because they were even designed to repair themselves.


Like, ‘Darwinism’, ‘falsifying’ is another term whose meaning depends on context. Hence the word can be used to equivocate when debating.

Here are four meanings I can think of:

  1. As used in internet forum discussions of evolution, eg in popularized attempts to interpret evolution being falsified by Haldane’s “rabbit fossils in the Precambrian”

  2. As a general guide used by scientists to decide whether an explanation is even scientific. So some might claim that ID without specifying a designer is not a scientific explanation, because the designer is unconstrained, and so no explanation based on ID could be falsified.

  3. As a way of describing explanations which are have been rejected by science because they are not the best explanation of all the available evidence. Newtonian mechanics and Darwin’s explanation of the mechanisms of evolution have both been falsified by this definition.

  4. As a philosophical theory advanced by Popper which claims that falsification, not induction, is the basic method of science. So Popper said, roughly, that science never confirms, instead it only looks for disconfirmations. Popper’s ideas on falsifiability as he expressed them in philosophical literature have been rejected in the modern philosophical consensus (see SEP on Popper for details).


its not always true, as you can see here:

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #88

That is how I’m using it.

(Guy Coe) #90

Newtonian physics has been contextualized as to its limits. We now know it cannot be the whole story.


I thought as much. But I am not sure if that is so for some of your interlocutors. It is possible they have a different definition in mind, or that they are being vague for rhetorical purposes.

So my core point was that ‘falsification’, like ‘Darwinism’, also needs to have an agreed definition in order to prevent discussing the topic at cross-purposes.

As an example, it is correct to say Newtonian physics is approximately correct in a limited domain, as several other posters do. But that is not an argument against the point you are making using your definition of ‘falsification’.

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #92

I think there are some people who just want to disagree with me with me, no matter what I say. One of them seems to think ism must always equal ideology.



Let’s say that a mutation happens before the split between the human/chimp lineage and the gorilla lineage. The mutation makes it into the gorilla branch and the human/chimp branch, but doesn’t reach fixation. Later, chimps and humans branch off from one another, and once again the mutation makes it into both branches but hasn’t reached fixation. However, that mutation is later lost in the human lineage. What we have now is a mutation shared by gorillas and chimps but not gorillas and humans. This one mutation will be consistent with chimps and gorillas being more closely related than chimps and humans. This is what adds noise to the phylogenetic signal that reflects the actual order of speciation events.

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #94

Where is that figure from?




I do think the ideology aspects of Darwinism are a valuable, separate consideration from the topic of this thread. For example, “Darwinism” taken as an ideology and used to support social Darwinism or economic libertarianism.

Among other things, an ideology tries to control the meaning of words used in a political or social debate, claiming legitimacy for its definitions from their supposedly relevant scientific credentials. In the two previous examples, by claiming scientific theories of biological evolution extend correctly to the a certain social or economic theory. So for example libertarians claim fitness of market participants is the same as fitness in biology, and regulating markets fails to heed the lessons of the science of evolution.

For me, some ID arguments seem based on trying to counter “Darwinism” as an ideology. Darwinism as an ideology is claimed by ID to be forcing an atheistic worldview through insistence on methodological naturalism.

Just to be clear, I don’t see any merit in any such an argument, but I suspect it may be part of ID concerns. For one thing, that is not the meaning of the “methodological naturalism”; it is not meant to force atheism when used by scientists.


“Newtonism” taken as an ideology would support throwing people off of tall buildings because objects must fall. Does this mean we must reject Newtonian physics?

The problem isn’t with the theory. The problem is with people who apply a theory where it isn’t applicable. This is strongly related to the Is/Ought problem that Hume is famous for.

That sounds exactly like what the Discovery Institute does when they try to describe Darwinism as an ideology.


The current discussion began due to a couple comments by @TedDavis:

ID proponents (at least the folks I’ve read and interacted with) have always insisted that ID is scientific–that seems really important to them–and that ultimately (as in “some day,” often said in the past to be within one generation but still not yet attained) ID will actually replace neo-Darwinism as the reigning paradigm in biology.

That part of my mind (where ID and stuff resides) was mapped out between 25 and 15 years ago. At that time, I had the impression that neo-Darwinism was still the reigning paradigm.

Reading an interview of Jerry Fodor from February 2008.

Suzan Mazur: Will the book include a discussion of people who are working on alternatives to the paradigm.

Jerry Fodor: I don’t think there are any alternative paradigms. The fact is just a you said the Darwinian theory is essentially the standard view in the business. I’m not in that business fortunately so I don’t have to care whether it’s the standard theory. But it is. I’m interested in confirming theories. That’s what science is about.

Darwin Overthrown: Hello Mechanobiology

The book being referred to is:


Yes, that and the above parts of your post are my point (except for the is/ought comparison, which I don’t understand).

My concern was to ensure we are not trying to argue the science with someone who is arguing the ideology. Or worse, someone who is vague about which is the context for their arguments.


So I am unclear on why you included the bits about Fodor not being in the business and not caring, which say that he is not a reliable source on biology (he is a philosopher of mind and language mainly, I believe).

Are you making an meta-argument which effectively says you agree with the biologists posting in this thread?

And is their a formal name in logic for “argument by book title”?


Here is what Hume had to say:

Essentially, we can’t determine what we ought to do from what is. For example, let’s say there is a group of children suffering from a nasty infectious disease. Do we say that this is how it ought to be because it is how it is? No. Our morality isn’t determined by how natural laws or nature works, but by how we think things ought to be.


Part VI of the book by Contemporary Debates in Philosophy of Biology edited by Ayala and Arp and published in 2010.

Does Evolutionary Developmental Biology Offer a Significant Challenge to the Neo-Darwinian Paradigm?

In the first chapter in Part VI one author argues that it does. In the chapter after that a second author argues that it does not. What is not questioned is that Neo-Darwinism is the reigning paradigm.